Jesus is Life

Posted on July 29, 2008 · Posted in Godward Orientation, Parenting

In the beginning was
the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in
the beginning
. John 1:1

Simon Peter answered
him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We
believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." John 6:68

And
if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with
me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am
going." Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don’t know where you are going,
so how can we know the way?"

Jesus
answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the
Father except through me
. John 14:3-6

 

The Gospel of
John provides the setting for this final post on life that is truly life.
John’s gospel is rich with references to the Trinity. It is rich with Christ.
Two themes that we have been exploring are brought to a perfect conclusion by
John. We have looked 1) at God’s Word being life and 2) that parents must
present life to their children. In the first chapter, John identifies Jesus as
the Word of God. Then, in chapter 14, He says that Jesus is life, the life. Christ does not lead toward
the illusory life that I Timothy warns us to avoid. No, following Christ leads to
life itself, for he is the life.

Notice
Thomas’ question in verse 5 that sets up Jesus’ powerful reply in verse 6.
Jesus says, “You know the place where I am going.” A puzzled Thomas responds,
“We don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 

With this question, Thomas behaves very much like your
children. Even though Jesus has spent three years teaching his disciples about
the kingdom of heaven, they fail to grasp the big picture and think only of the
moment in front of them. Likewise, it seems your children will often question
your commitment to them if you do anything other than what they desire at a
particular moment. They have a difficult time grasping that your actions,
though often imperfect, are designed with a single goal in mind – to lead them
to Christ.

You must not become impatient with your children about these
situations. Rather, follow the model the Christ lays before you. Continue to
point them to the One whose very words are life. Don’t expect your children to immediately
and fully understand that the reason you don’t get ice cream as often as they
want, the reason that you discipline them, the reason that you don’t let them
play at a friend’s house, and the reason for a myriad of other situations is that
you are leading them towards life itself. Christ cannot be apprehended by mere
reason. Yet, over time, faithfully present Jesus as life itself.  He provides life for you and for your children
in his time. So, Jesus tells Thomas that he is the Way. He doesn’t provide
Thomas with a detailed explanation of how to find the way. He simply states
that if we know him and follow his directions, that is enough. It is enough
because Jesus and his commands (words) are life.  Think about the conversations you have with
your children. Do you point your kids to Christ or to something else? Is Christ
real to you? Are his words your life?

For this reason, your parenting must be grounded in life—that
is, in Christ. Like Thomas, your children don’t know the way on their own. They
need your words to point them to Christ (Proverbs 6:20-24). The world is
interested—and fully invested—in leading your children away from Christ. This
is why you must not love the world. Note
this quote from influential educator John Dewey:

Faith in the prayer-hearing God is
an unproved and outmoded faith. There is no God and there is no soul. Hence,
there are no needs for the props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed
excluded, the immutable truth is also dead and buried. There is no room
for fixed, natural law or moral absolutes.” [John Dewey, “Soul-Searching,” Teacher
Magazine
, Sept. 1933, p. 33.]

The culture of the 21st Century has come to
embrace Dewey’s idea of God.  In
contrast, patiently but powerfully present Christ and his ways to your
children. Don’t settle for counterfeit words. Your children need the formative
instruction provided only by God’s
word. Shepherd Press has just published a new book that can help you in this
important task. This is the theme of Instructing
a Child’s Heart
.
This book has valuable foundational material that will
help you to present Christ to your children.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Give your children
nothing less.

Let me know your thoughts on this series of posts.

 

 

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